Can You Get Locked Inside a Hidden Room?

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Can You Get Locked Inside a Hidden Room?

Have you ever watched a movie where people got trapped behind a door and wondered if it could happen in real life? Understanding how the locks work for a concealed room is crucial when planning to install or upgrade your hidden door. Learn the facts to know if this is a genuine possibility.

Can I Get Locked Inside Hidden Rooms?

One of the most common concerns we hear from people interested in secret doors is the possibility of getting trapped. However, getting locked behind one of our hidden doors is impossible. A security door is designed with safety as a priority, with mechanisms installed to prevent you from being stuck inside, such as fail-safe locks and manual overrides. While hidden doors evoke intrigue, they are created to offer a safe environment for you, even in case of an accidental lock-in

The Locking Mechanism of Hidden Doors

There are two types of electronic locks — fail-safe and fail-secure — which refer to what will happen to a door when there is no power to the unit.

Fail-Safe Locks

This mechanism unlocks when power is removed and locks once it’s applied. This typically takes the form of an electromagnetic lock, which consists of a powerful electromagnet installed on the top of a door’s frame and a metal plate that aligns with it. This type of lock will typically provide a hold-force between 600 pounds and 4800 pounds, and multiple electromagnetic locks can be installed around the door’s perimeter when higher security is required. The lock is activated by passing an electric current through the electromagnet, producing a magnetic charge that attracts the plate and keeping the door locked until power is interrupted by the secret switch of the client’s choosing.

Fail-Secure Locks

Your hidden door stays locked if power is interrupted or suspended with a fail-secure lock. Security rooms, vault doors and other sensitive areas employ this locking system. Since the door stays locked in case of power failure, a mechanical override like a key is required to open it until power is restored.

A fail-secure lock works best for instances where you absolutely need the door to remain sealed even in a power failure, like a panic room. These doors provide optimal security for you and your family in case of fire or forced entry.

What Happens During Power Interruptions and Outages?

A fail-safe lock will unlock when the power is withdrawn, so for high-security applications a battery backup works behind the scenes to guarantee continuous power.

Fail safe lock systems include an egress button, allowing the occupant of the secure room to cut power and unlock the door. Additionally most secret doors will feature mechanical overrides in the form of internal latches or levers.

There have been cases where clients failed to connect the door’s power supply beforehand when self-installing. In these instances, the mechanical latch prevents any chance of being locked inside the hidden room.

Deadbolts vs. Electromagnetic locks

Traditional doors usually have a deadbolt that extends into a hole in the doorframe called the mortise. Deadbolts are relatively secure, but they must be slightly undersized from the mortise to ensure that they enter reliably which causes them to have a slight amount of play or jiggle. 

While it is perfectly normal for a conventional door to have a little play in the lock, in the case of secret doors, jiggling is unacceptable because it compromises the camouflage. In addition to being easy to control with clever secret switches, electromagnetic locks provide the added benefit that they have zero play so the secret door feels rock solid when in the closed position. 

The Importance of Battery Backups 

There are plenty of reasons the power to your door may be cut unexpectedly. Overvoltage commonly occurs as a result of inclement weather, as is considerably more of a risk in areas experiencing excessively high temperatures. If there are valuables you’re looking to keep safe that others might know about, there is always the possibility of intentional power cuts to be aware of.

If your security door has a fail-safe system, incorporating a battery backup can ensure continuous operation even during power outages. Our secret door can include a shoe box-sized metal enclosure that contains the battery backup unit. This enclosure is often mounted inside the secret room on the wall above the opening, or in a nearby attic or closet.  

A cable connects the mounted battery unit to the door’s locking mechanism to supply power when needed. Battery life depends on how much electrical energy your door’s mechanisms require. Creative Home Engineering experts can customize a battery backup system based on their client’s preference, with options ranging from as little as 12 hours to much longer durations, especially for those prioritizing high security. 

Some clients will use a battery backup unit in tandem with a home generator.  But even with a home generator a battery backup unit can be desirable because generators usually take several seconds to kick on in an outage.   Without a battery backup a secret door will unlock and could even self-open during that time period if it is configured with an automatic opener.

Creative Home Engineering Provides Peace of Mind

Combining battery backup systems with mechanical overrides can ensure your door remains accessible with or without power. With Creative Home Engineering, you can rest assured that you don’t have to be concerned about getting trapped inside your dream hidden room. Our experts make your secret door ideas come to life — whether a secret bookcase door or a hidden stone door — by combining aesthetic and security features for your peace of mind. 
You can also contact Creative Home Engineering experts today — they’ll be happy to answer your inquiries and discuss how you can strengthen your hidden door’s security.